Harry Houdini First, Now 3D Printing Challenges Handcuff Security

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Houdini Handcuffs 3D Printing

Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini was knows as “The Handcuff King” in the early 1900s for his amazing ability to free himself from handcuffs. Now there is a new handcuff king in town, one who uses 3D printing to fabricate custom keys. As Forbes reports:

The security of high-end handcuffs depends on a detainee not having access to certain small, precisely-shaped objects. In the age of easy 3D printing and other DIY innovations, that assumption may no longer apply.

In a workshop Friday at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York, a German hacker and security consultant who goes by the name “Ray” demonstrated a looming problem for handcuff makers hoping to restrict the distribution of the keys that open their cuffs: With plastic copies he cheaply produced with a laser-cutter and a 3D printer, he was able to open handcuffs built by the German firm Bonowi and the English manufacturer Chubb, both of which attempt to control the distribution of their keys to keep them exclusively in the hands of authorized buyers such as law enforcement.

This 3D printing achievement shows that even high-end handcuffs are no longer always secure. Keys can be reproduced and 3D printed into plexiglass or other materials that are not captured by metal detectors. It’s perhaps time to upgrade the technology used by law enforcement.

The photo below shows the 3D printed handcuff key.

3D Printed Handcuff Key


Read the full story on Forbes.

Handcuff photo by Marcin Wichary used under Creative Commons license. 3D printed handcuff key by CabFabLab used under Creative Commons license.

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One Response to Harry Houdini First, Now 3D Printing Challenges Handcuff Security

  1. [...] Harry Houdini First, Now 3D Printing Challenges Handcuff Security [...]

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